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What is a high-yield checking account? It's exactly what it sounds like

Thu, 08/01/2019 - 4:47pm

  • High-yield checking accounts that offer more than 2% APY are becoming more common.
  • However, many come with balance or deposit minimums, or require a customer use the bank's bill-pay service or have paychecks deposited directly in order to get the APY.
  • High-yield checking accounts can be a great way to earn more interest on your spending money, but read the fine print and research diligently to make sure the account you want fits your lifestyle.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Life is hard without a checking account. Without it, where would you deposit your paychecks? How would you pay your rent, your bills, your credit card balances? Your checking account is the nexus of your entire financial life. The convenience makes them easy sells, so banks don't feel the need to load them with any extra perks.

Until now.

Interest rates for checking accounts have been abysmal for decades, but recently, many banks are starting to offer high-yield checking account products — banking options that can actually net a substantial return to those who use them.

What is a high-yield checking account?

A high-yield checking account is exactly what it sounds like: It's a checking account that has an annual percentage yield (APY) that's much higher than those offered by standard checking accounts, which usually offer no interest at all. That means the APY is at least 2%, but the best of the best offer 3% to 4%. Sometimes, even more.

Note that a high-yield savings account is a different product. A high-yield savings account can pay 2% or more in interest, but is intended to be used to save money so it doesn't come with a debit card, you can't take the money out at ATMs, and you're allowed only a minimum number of withdrawals each month.

Being a special financial product, high-yield checking accounts can come with a lot of strings.

Some high-yield checking accounts may have requirements to qualify for the APY

Just because your high-yield checking account will provide somewhat of a return on your investment doesn't mean you can treat it like a savings account.

The bank may require you to engage in some specific qualifying activities with your account, such as making a minimum number of debit card or check transactions per month, having at least one recurring direct deposit, or making a minimum number of ATM withdrawals per month. If you're actually treating your high-yield checking account like a checking account, none of this should be a problem.

It's standard to see deposit minimums when opening savings accounts, but with high-yield checking accounts, because of the greater operating costs for the institutions offering them, balance and deposit minimums are just as common. Not keeping the minimum balance in your high APY checking account could incur fees or lead to the loss of the high APY. Be sure to read the fine print from your bank before you open your account to understand what some of these terms might be.

Another common practice is for banks to offer a high APY for a checking account, but only up to a certain amount. You may be diligent about keeping $5,000 in your checking account at all times, but the bank may only be paying a high APY on the first $1,000, while the remaining amount draws interest at a standard — and much lower — rate.

Does the account come with fees?

"[A] major benefit of high-yield checking accounts are that they often come with low to zero monthly fees," says Kimberly Hamilton, Founder of Beworth Finance LLC. "That said, you'll want to check for any other charges that may come up — for example, ATM fees. If one financial institution offers a higher interest rate, but tacks on fees, you may want to reconsider the lower interest rate option after all."

While more and more traditional brick and mortar banks are offering high-yield checking accounts, the majority of them can be found in online banks. Because they don't have any physical locations, there also aren't any in-network ATMs to visit when you need to make cash withdrawals. With ATM fees averaging $2 to $4, this kind of use could add up pretty quick. Carefully look at the terms and conditions of your checking account to see if it waives or refund ATM fees.

Some banks and credit unions may try to attract new customers by offering high APYs for a limited time, similar to the marketing tactics of 0% intro APR credit card offers. Pay attention to the fine print and don't assume that your high interest rate will last the entire time you hold an account.

Where is high-yield checking available?

Some of the checking accounts with the best APYs are only offered by small credit unions and banks that have a decidedly small reach in terms of geography. Before you open up an account with one of these banks, carefully consider where you might be in a few years. If there's any chance you might move across country, you'll be forced to change banks, and that's a major hassle. If you live a more nomadic life or tend to travel a lot, a major bank with national reach, or an online bank that operates across the US, might be your best bets.

However, this might not be a problem for long, even with the small, local banks and credit unions.

"Many banks have begun shifting their banking operations online as a means to reduce costs of maintaining a physical network of branches," explains Riley Adams, CPA and founder of the The Young & The Invested. "This change has resulted in lower efficiency ratios for banks (percentage of revenue represented by costs, lower is better for measuring bank profitability). In fact, online-only banks are best-suited to offer high-interest checking accounts because they face lower costs and must offer higher interest rates to attract customers to use their services."

Editors note: An earlier version of this post included quotes from a source whose identity and credibility has recently been discredited. The post has been updated to remove her quotes.

Considering a high-yield checking account? Take look at these offers from our partners:

Related coverage from How to Do Everything: Money

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Software intelligence company Dynatrace soared 49% on its first day of trading. Its top execs explain how a 'technology refresh' helped the company grow. (DT)

Thu, 08/01/2019 - 4:42pm

  • On Thursday, software monitoring company Dynatrace — majority-owned by private equity firm Thoma Bravo — went public, and its stock soared 49%.
  • In the last three years or so, Dynatrace changed its business model to be centered around subscriptions.
  • Dynatrace CTO and founder Bernd Greifeneder and CFO Kevin Burns say the momentum in its growth motivated the company to go public.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

On Thursday, Dynatrace became the latest tech company to go public — and soared as high as 58% in its first day of trading, before closing the day up 49% at $23.85. 

The software intelligence company, which is majority-owned by private equity firm Thoma Bravo, creates software that helps companies monitor and manage their business applications, spotting performance bottlenecks and spotting cybersecurity problems. It competes with companies like Cisco and Broadcom.

In 2014, Thoma Bravo bought a company called Compuware for $2.5 billion. That same year, Thoma Bravo took some of Compuware's business and spun it out as an independent company that we now know as Dynatrace, though it kept a controlling interest. 

Dynatrace raised $570 million in its IPO, which it sees as giving it some fuel to continue chasing growth.

"This is a huge opportunity with this market," Bernd Greifeneder, founder and CTO of Dynatrace, told Business Insider. "It gives us the right funding to invest more. Honestly, I'm primarily driven by the best solutions for our customers."

According to that filing, Dynatrace posted revenues of $431 million in its 2019 fiscal year which ended March 31, up 8% from the previous year. It reported a net loss of $116 million in FY19, down from a profit of $9 million the previous year. 

A 'significant technology refresh'

Dynatrace CFO Kevin Burns says that over the last three years or so, the company went through a "significant technology refresh." Before, Dynatrace sold traditional software licenses, but in the last two to three years, it transitioned to a subscription business. 

Now, he says, over 80% of Dynatrace's revenue comes from subscriptions. The company saw 35% growth in subscription and services revenue in the most recent quarter.

"For the last couple of years, technology transformation, we've been starting an acceleration in revenue growth," Burns said.

This change in business model has been the biggest motivation for the company to go public, Burns says. With the faster pace of growth, he says, the company has a better position from which to reach customers, and being publicly traded 

"We've got a lot of momentum in the business," Burns said. "As a public company, there's bigger podium to speak from."

Read more: Dynatrace, a Cisco and Broadcom rival, is going public in an IPO that could raise as much as $300 million

Burns says that going forward, he wants Dynatrace to continue on the path it's been on. It plans to continue growing its customers and hiring more talent to its company.

"We've been a market leader, a technology leader," Burns said. "We continue to reinvent and innovate. We want to continue to scale."

Dynatrace is the latest in a string of other enterprise tech companies, like Zoom, PagerDuty, CrowdStrike, Slack, Fastly, and Medallia, that have all gone public this year. 

Got a tip? Contact this reporter via email at rmchan@businessinsider.com, Telegram at @rosaliechan, or Twitter DM at @rosaliechan17. (PR pitches by email only, please.) Other types of secure messaging available upon request. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

SEE ALSO: Asana just launched a new product to address worker burnout, and it uses a concept that its CEO learned from his time as cofounder of Facebook

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DoorDash is buying its competitor Caviar from Square for $410 million as the red-hot delivery space continues to heat up (SQ)

Thu, 08/01/2019 - 4:40pm

DoorDash announced Thursday that it plans to buy competing delivery company Caviar from Square in a $410 million cash-and-stock deal.

Caviar, which operates in about thirty cities throughout the United States, was originally acquired by the payments company, helmed by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, in 2014.

DoorDash said it was interested in buying the competitor in order to acquire its "leading technology and exceptional team." Gokul Rajaram, head of the Caviar division at Square, will join DoorDash as well, the company said, adding that the deal is expected to close this year. 

"We have long-admired Caviar, which has a coveted brand, an exceptional portfolio of premium restaurants and leading technology," DoorDash CEO Tony Xu said in a press release.

The acquisition further enhances the breadth of our merchant selection, enabling us to offer customers even more choice when they order through DoorDash. We look forward to welcoming the Caviar team to DoorDash and expanding our partnership with Square in the future."

Shares of Square sank as much as 8% in after-hours trading following the Caviar deal's announcement, which coincided with a quarterly earnings report that was mostly in-line with Wall Street's expectations. 

DoorDash came under fire in July for a controversial tipping policy, which it eventually changed, after backlash from customers and workers. Under the old system, some customer tips were counted towards a delivery partner's guaranteed base pay. Tips are now always counted on top of a minimum base rate, Xu announced in late July.

Read more: We asked Uber, Lyft, Instacart and other gig-economy startups how much of your tips go directly to their workers

DoorDash's acquisition is the latest in a string of delivery startup mergers in the red-hot industry. Earlier this week, Delivery.com announced it would acquired Mr. Delivery, a smaller competitor based in Austin, Texas. In July, two European delivery powerhouses, Takeaway and Just Eat, merged in a $10 billion deal. Amazon, meanwhile, has backed another European competitor, London-based Deliveroo.

"We are increasing our focus on and investment in our two large, growing ecosystems—one for businesses and one for individuals," Square CEO Jack Dorsey said in the press release. "This transaction furthers that effort, and we believe partnering with DoorDash provides valuable and strategic opportunities for Square."

Carmen Reinicke contributed to this report. 

SEE ALSO: DoorDash is under fire for its controversial tipping policy. We asked Uber, Lyft, Instacart and other gig-economy startups how much of your tips go directly to their workers

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A staggering percentage of couples are going into debt to pay for their weddings — here are the countries where the problem is the worst

Thu, 08/01/2019 - 4:32pm

  • Many engaged couples across the world are going into debt by using loans and credit cards to pay for their weddings.
  • In the US, 28% of couples reported going into debt when paying for their weddings. 
  • Meanwhile, in Peru and Brazil, a whopping 47% of couples reported going into debt to pay for their weddings.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Planning your wedding can be a stressful time for anyone, regardless of where you live in the world.

However, in some countries, a startling percentage of couples report going into debt to pay for their nuptial celebrations, and many rely on loans and credit to help foot the bills.

While weddings are notoriously expensive in the US, and wedding debt is undoubtedly a big issue, believe it or not, there are eight countries where weddings send a greater percentage of couples into debt.

Read more: The 25 most expensive places in the US to get married

The Knot and WeddingWire recently released their 2019 Global Weddings Report, analyzing the overall costs and average expenses associated with weddings in 14 countries. The study also found the percentage of couples that went into some form of debt through either credit cards or loans in order to pay for their wedding.

To better analyze how the astronomical costs of weddings may affect people in that country, we also looked at the average annual salaries for people in that country.

Here's how many couples go into wedding debt in 13 different countries, ranked from the lowest percentage to the highest.

SEE ALSO: Instagram and Pinterest are convincing more couples to go into debt for their perfect wedding

DON'T MISS: Here's how much of your wedding budget you should set aside for your honeymoon, according to experts

13. Portugal

Average wedding cost (USD): $16,700

Average yearly individual salary (USD): $19,930

Amount of couples who go into wedding debt: 7%

Weddings in Portugal are expensive — couples will spend an average of $16,700 on their nuptials. However, unlike couples in countries like Peru and Brazil, Portuguese couples rarely use credit cards or loans to pay for wedding-day expenses. 



12. Spain

Average wedding cost (USD): $23,400

Average yearly individual salary (USD): $27,150

Amount of couples who go into wedding debt: 15%

Wedding costs in Spain and Italy are relatively high, but fewer couples report going into wedding debt. This could largely be due to more financial support from their parents and families — they cover roughly two-thirds of all wedding expenses. 



11. France

Average wedding cost (USD): $17,600

Average yearly individual salary (USD): $38,160

Amount of couples who go into wedding debt: 21%

The average number of guests can raise the cost of a wedding exponentially. In European countries like France and Italy, the average number of guests is between 100 and 130. French couples reported spending the most on food — not surprising for a country with extreme dedication to delicious cuisine.



10. Italy

Average wedding cost (USD): $22,500

Average yearly individual salary (USD): $31,180

Amount of couples who go into wedding debt: 25%

On average, couples in Italy receive a great deal of financial support from their parents. However, roughly one in four couples will still go into debt to pay for their weddings. 



9. United States

Average wedding cost (USD): $29,200

Average yearly individual salary (USD): $59,160

Amount of couples who go into wedding debt: 28%

Couples in the United States spend the most on average for their weddings. Couples in the US also tend to receive less financial support from their families compared to Western European and South American couples, meaning more couples will have to pay out of pocket or go into debt for their mega-expensive celebrations. 



8. United Kingdom

Average wedding cost (USD): $19,200

Average yearly individual salary (USD): $40,600

Amount of couples who go into wedding debt: 30%

Couples in the United Kingdom reported spending the most time planning their weddings. As we all know, weddings in the UK can be an extremely big deal — hello, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. However, the average couple getting married in the UK will still spend less on their wedding than couples in the US. However, they are slightly more likely to go into debt to pay for their wedding.



7. Canada

Average wedding cost (USD): $21,900

Average yearly individual salary (USD): $42,790

Amount of couples who go into wedding debt: 31%

Canadian couples reported a high average wedding cost — a whopping $21,900 per wedding. Perhaps due to this average price, one in three couples go into wedding debt in this country. 



6. Argentina

Average wedding cost (USD): $3,700

Average yearly individual salary (USD): $13,030

Amount of couples who go into wedding debt: 37%

Couples in Argentina spend an average of $3,700 on their wedding and invite around 125 guests. This results in an average cost of $30 per wedding attendee. 



5. Mexico

Average wedding cost (USD): $8,600

Average yearly individual salary (USD): $8,610

Amount of couples who go into wedding debt: 39%

The wedding guest count in Mexico is the second highest in the world, with the average number of attendees averaging around 185 guests. Weddings in Mexico cost almost as much as the annual individual salary. 



4. Colombia

Average wedding cost (USD): $3,300

Average yearly individual salary (USD): $5,890

Amount of couples who go into wedding debt: 43%

Couples in Colombia reported the lowest guest counts and the shortest planning time. The actual cost of the average Colombian wedding is also low — only $3,300. However, when factoring in the average annual individual salary, it may come as no surprise that 43% of couples will go into debt to pay for their weddings. 



3. Chile

Average wedding cost (USD): $7,400

Average yearly individual salary (USD): $13,610

Amount of couples who go into wedding debt: 45%

45% of couples in Chile report going into debt to pay for their weddings. They are also less likely than other South American couples to hold their celebrations in their hometown — 72% of couples will travel outside of their hometown for their weddings. 



1 (tie). Peru

Average wedding cost (USD): $7,700

Average yearly individual salary (USD): $5,960

Amount of couples who go into wedding debt: 47%

Wedding costs are the lowest in South America, but the average individual annual salary is also low, making it harder for couples in those countries to cover wedding costs. 



1 (tie). Brazil

Average wedding cost (USD): $6,600

Average yearly individual salary (USD): $8,610

Amount of couples who go into wedding debt: 47%

A majority (57%) of Brazilian couples reported having their weddings in their hometown. Brazil also surveyed as the country with the highest percentage of couples who went into wedding debt, tying with Peru.



A Wall Street analyst says Red Hat’s CEO is seen by investors as the likely successor to IBM chief Ginni Rometty (IBM)

Thu, 08/01/2019 - 4:27pm

  • A Wall Street analyst said many investors see Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst as a potential successor to IBM chief Ginni Rometty.
  • Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty noted the speculation on Whitehurst as IBM unveiled its big plans for Red Hat which it sees key to its bid to conquer the hybrid cloud market.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

A Wall Street analyst says some investors now see Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst as a likely successor to IBM chief Ginni Rometty, in what could be the most meaningful result of IBM's blockbuster $34 billion acquisition.

IBM closed its acquisition of Red Hat three weeks ago, and on Thursday unveiled its ambitious plan for the open source cloud software company. The acquisition was a controversial move that some observers said would lead to another failed megamerger. A big worry is that Red Hat would lose its edge under IBM given the two companies diverse cultures.

Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty noted that one of the risks in big mergers is that the "acquired company loses key executives, sales or R&D teams, diluting the value of intangibles spanning culture, brand and customer relationships."

But that may not be a worry with the IBM-Red Hat merger.

"In the case of Red Hat, Jim Whitehurst will remain with IBM and is viewed by many investors as a potential CEO successor," Huberty wrote in a research note.

Whitehurst's possible ascent to the IBM's top post has come up in media reports in the past. The latest speculation on Whitehurst's IBM future comes at a time IBM is unveiling its ambitious plans for Red Hat, which it says will be key in its bid to dominate the hybrid cloud market. IBM is meeting with investors on Friday "to talk about our go-to-market strategy with Red Hat," a spokesperson told Business Insider.

Red Hat's products are popular among developers and could potentially expand the tech giant's reach in enterprise cloud.

IBM certainly needs such a boost. The company has seen its revenue decline in 26 of the last 29 quarters.

Known as a corporate powerhouse that dominated the enterprise tech market for decades, IBM found itself outmaneuvered in the rapid growth of the cloud, which allowed businesses to set up and maintain computing networks on web-based platforms. That market is dominated by the likes of Amazon, Microsoft and Google

But IBM has been pushing for a bigger cloud presence by zeroing in on the hybrid cloud market, where businesses store and process data and use applications on a public cloud, while keeping a significant portion of the workload in their own data centers.

Huberty of Morgan Stanley resumed coverage of IBM on Thursday with an overweight rating, which is equivalent to a buy, based on recent trends in IBM's business and the potential gain from Red Hat.

"IBM is in the latter innings of a transformation meant to return the company to growth and margin expansion, both of which kicked in over the past year and should accelerate post the closing of the Red Hat acquisition."

Got a tip about IBM or another tech company? Contact this reporter via email at bpimentel@businessinsider.com, message him on Twitter @benpimentel. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

SEE ALSO: IBM’s cloud boss reveals the game plan for its $34 billion Red Hat acquisition, and says it’ll give it ‘massive reach’ in a $1.2 trillion cloud market

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A private equity firm just paid $18 million for Sizmek’s contextual-targeting business, beating out The Trade Desk and Zefr. Here’s how its new leaders will help advertisers prepare for privacy regulations.

Thu, 08/01/2019 - 3:30pm

  • Bankrupt ad-tech firm Sizmek has sold Peer39, a contextual advertising company, to private-equity firm O3 Industries for $18 million.
  • Peer39 got four offers during an auction in New York last week. Other bidders included ad-tech firms The Trade Desk and Zefr, according to sources.
  • Peer39 will be led by former Sizmek exec Mario Diez as CEO and Alex White, who previously led Sizmek's product and account teams, as chief operating officer.
  • They said they see a big opportunity for contextual-based advertising as marketers prepare for regulation and privacy laws.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

A private-equity firm won an auction for Sizmek's contextually-based advertising firm Peer39, which will be run by two former Sizmek executives.

Bankrupt ad-tech firm Sizmek has sold off pieces of its business this year, to companies including Amazon and Zeta Global. Today, Sizmek finalized the sale of Peer39 to O3 Industries, which will operate Peer39 as a standalone company. Former Sizmek execs Mario Diez and Alex White will lead it as CEO and COO, respectively.

Read more: Sizmek's contextual-targeting business is one bright spot for the bankrupt ad-tech firm, and a group of industry execs is spinning it out into a new company

Four companies bid for Peer39 in an auction this past week, according to sources. Winning bidder O3 Industries is acquiring Peer39 for $18 million, up from the $13 million that was previously agreed on in July.

The other bidders included programmatic ad-tech firm The Trade Desk, according to four sources close to the situation; and Zefr, a company that specializes in contextual-based video ads. Zefr recently sold off its rights management business for $90 million to Vobile Group to focus on its contextual targeting tools for advertisers.

"Zefr is focused on the growth of our contextual platform, and evaluated how Peer39's legacy technology could evolve," the company said in a statement. "We're continuing to seek strategic opportunities as they arise." 

The Trade Desk did not respond to requests for comment.

Former Sizmek execs want to build Peer39 up

O3 Industries also owns glass facade company Antamex International, Inc. and is run by CEO Jeremy Ozen, according to its website. Ozen is the co-founder of out-of-home advertising firm Vistar Media.

The team is acquiring Peer39's existing technology, clients, and 20 employees. The company plans to hire for sales and account management, product and engineering roles and will have offices in New York, London, Poland and Israel, Diez said.

The process of acquiring Peer39 started four months ago, Diez said. He and White had been consulting for advertising and marketing companies and were interested in Peer39's technology that places ads on publishers' websites and apps that are relevant to the editorial content someone is reading.

As ad-tech firms and marketers clamp down on third-party data due to privacy regs like the California Consumer Privacy Act and the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation, contextual-based targeting is one way that marketers and publishers like The Washington Post are working around cookie-less targeting.

"With the privacy concerns and a regulatory climate, there's some changes in how advertisers and their partners are looking at targeting," Diez said. "We've always believed that the mindset of a consumer is largely dependent on what's on the page, in an app or in a video."

Peer39 uses semantic targeting, which analyzes text and videos online and on apps. Advertisers can then target ads to people based on what they're looking at. An advertiser selling chocolate chips, for example, can specifically target ads to people who are reading cookie recipes. The approach also helps advertisers concerned about brand safety avoid certain types of content.

Advertisers are worried about losing scale without cookies

A challenge of contextual-based advertising is that it doesn't have as much scale as advertising based on third-party data. Peer39 hopes that its AI-based technology will help solve some of those issues, said White.

Charlie Fiordalis, regional managing partner at ad agency Mediacom, said that regulation like GDPR has signifcantly limited the amount of data that advertisers can access, and clients are increasingly relying on first-party data. He said that in some cases, advertisers initially lost up to 80% of the data they had access to shortly after the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation rolled out last year.

"It pushes us towards a place where we do a lot more contextual alignment," he said. 

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I flew first-class in Delta's 6-month-old A220, the plane Boeing tried to keep out of the US (DAL)

Thu, 08/01/2019 - 3:10pm

  • The Airbus A220 is an advanced, efficient, comfortable 109-seat airliner that entered service in the US with Delta in February.
  • The plane, which began life as the Bombardier C Series, is designed to fill the market gap between midsize regional jets and workhorse narrow-body jets like the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320. It can also be used to replace larger regional jets.
  • I recently flew in the A220 for the first time, on a short flight from Boston's Logan Airport to New York's LaGuardia Airport, in the first-class cabin.
  • I was impressed by just about every aspect of the plane and found it a pleasant upgrade over the regional jets that usually operate that flight. Read on to learn more about what flying on the jet is like.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The Airbus A220 was one of the most controversial and highly anticipated new planes to launch in recent memory.

The 100-seat jet was originally designed by the Canadian plane- and train-maker Bombardier and sold as the C Series jet. In 2016, Delta placed an order for several C Series planes to replace some of its aging regional jets.

But in 2017, the American manufacturer Boeing filed a complaint with the US Commerce Department and the US International Trade Commission, claiming that Bombardier was selling the jets for an abnormally low price to undercut Boeing and using Canadian government subsidies to make up for the loss.

The two agencies agreed and imposed a massive penalty tariff on the jets — nearly 300% in total — that would have made the C Series prohibitively expensive, in effect keeping it out of the US market. Boeing claimed that the C Series was a direct competitor for the smaller variants of its 737; however, the two variations of the C Series seat only 110 to 130 passengers, while the smaller Boeing 737 NG planes fit 125 to 150 passengers.

But less than a month later, Bombardier found a way around the tariff, selling 50.01% of the C Series program to France's Airbus — Boeing's primary rival in the large commercial aircraft market — with no up-front cash investment. That transfer of majority ownership rendered the ITC ruling on the subsidies moot.

In summer 2018, the Bombardier C Series was officially rebranded as the Airbus A220.

While the A220 — as the C Series — entered service with Swiss Air Lines in 2016, it didn't start flying in the US until earlier this year with Delta, its US launch customer.

Business Insider reviewed the very first US A220 flight in February and a longer flight a little while later.

However, on a recent trip home from a weekend visiting family in Boston, I had the chance to fly on the A220 to see how the plane is holding up six months later and whether it still impresses. I also got a complimentary upgrade to first class thanks to my Delta SkyMiles frequent-flyer status. (I flew a lot last year.)

While first class may be overkill for the one-hour flight between Boston and New York, the plane was immediately impressive — and the comfortable first-class seat was obviously a nice treat.

Here's what the A220 is like after six months of service for Delta.

SEE ALSO: Here's what it's like to dine in first class at 35,000 feet

I got to Boston's Logan Airport with a bit of time to spare, so I went upstairs to the Sky Club lounge — I have a credit card that comes with Sky Club access as a perk.

I had a snack from the buffet and settled down on a couch with my iPad to catch up on some work.

A few minutes before my boarding time, I made my way down to the gate, which was quite crowded — maybe that had something to do with the fact that it was across from Legal's Test Kitchen, where you can buy a live lobster to bring home with you on your flight?

There it is, the CS100, or A220-100, Tail No. N110DU, taking me on the short flight to LaGuardia Airport in New York.

I made my way down the jet bridge in the first boarding group (after people who needed a little extra time to board).

Despite the rebranding of the C Series as the A220, there was a nod to the former name at the boarding door.

Here's the right-hand side of the first-class cabin ...

... and here's my window seat, 2D. The business-class cabin consists of just three rows, each with four seats in a 2-2 configuration.

Economy class is in a 3-2 configuration, making the A220 perfect if you're traveling with someone else and don't want a third seatmate.

Here's a photo of a standard three-seat economy row that a colleague took earlier in 2019. Economy seats are about 18.6 inches wide, with 30 to 32 inches of pitch. That's roomier than you'd find on most other regional jets and more in line with a workhorse 737 NG.

A bragging point of the A220 is its spacious overhead storage bins, which can fit most standard carry-on bags that you'd usually bring aboard a larger plane. That should make for fewer instances of passengers being surprised when their bags don't fit.

I've heard some grumbling online that while the coach seats are impressive for a regional jet, the first-class seats feel relatively cramped. However, that's not what I found at all.

According to Delta, first-class seats on the A220 are 20.5 inches wide with 37 inches of pitch, and it certainly felt like plenty of legroom.

For comparison, first-class seats in Delta's Bombardier-made regional CRJ-900 are 19.6 inches wide with 37 inches of pitch, and in the Embraer ERJ-175 they're 20 inches wide with 37 inches of pitch.

Shifting to non-regional single-aisle aircraft, first-class seats on Delta's 737-800 are 20.5 inches wide with 36 to 38 inches of pitch, and on the A320 they're 21 inches wide with just 36 inches of pitch.



Each seat had an air nozzle and a reading light, though I didn't need the latter on this bright daytime flight.

The large in-flight entertainment monitor could be tilted, a feature I definitely appreciated as it helped fight the glare of open window shades. The screen had a built-in headphone jack and a USB port that you could use to charge your phone.

Incidentally, Delta announced this week that more than 700 of its aircraft had in-flight entertainment screens and that the screens would continue to be installed on newly delivered aircraft.

At a time when airlines have been cutting back on the screens in favor of BYOD (bring your own device), Delta said customer reaction had been overwhelmingly positive.



Next to the screen was a retractable hook for a jacket or sweatshirt.

There were also two universal plugs.

I pulled out my iPad and noticed that WiFi was already available. On most Delta flights, WiFi isn't active until you're above 10,000 feet. I hadn't seen the A220 advertised as having gate-to-gate WiFi, so this was an unexpected treat.

My seatbelt had an airbag component. Some people find these uncomfortable, but I didn't even notice the airbag once I'd buckled the seatbelt.

There was an extra-wide armrest between the seats, with some storage space and the button to recline the seat (after takeoff, of course).

In the front of the armrest and down at seat level, there was a water-bottle holder with mini bottles waiting for us. This was actually pretty easy to miss. I didn't spot it for a few minutes.

There was one thing I found annoying: The seats didn't quite line up with the rails used to mount them to the cabin floor. I had only one bag with me, and I put it in the overhead compartment — but if I had wanted to store a bag under my seat, this would have cut down on the space available.

First-class passengers got a small pillow and a plastic-wrapped blanket. Always appreciated, though I ended up just tucking them out of the way between my seat and the bulkhead.

As the plane's 100 passengers were boarding, the flight attendant in the first-class cabin came around and offered drinks before departure. I had a beer, a Sweetwater 420 ale.

A few minutes later, the boarding door closed, and the flight attendant set the cabin lighting from a handy touchscreen.

After a quick safety video ...

... and a quick taxi to the runway ...

... and a quick takeoff roll ...

... we were in the air ...

... and on our way.

It was a beautiful day, and the A220's larger-than-average windows let plenty of light into the cabin for our roughly 45 minutes in the air.

I was planning to read a few articles rather than watch any in-flight entertainment, so I set my screen to the "flight show." This was definitely a new and improved version of what most Delta planes have — it was interactive and responsive, with about 10 view options.

I was a fan of the "command center" view.

The A220 is powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney PW1500G turbofan engines. On a regional 100-seater jet, the engines are usually annoyingly loud, but the A220 is a relatively quiet ride.

A few minutes after takeoff, our flight attendant came around to see if anyone wanted another drink. I mean, if you're offering ...

I ended up not using the tray table on this incredibly short flight, since the middle armrest in first class has space to put a drink, but here's where it folds out from the other armrest.

There was only one disappointing thing about the first-class cabin. The A220 has three lavatories: one in first class, and two in the rear of the plane. The pilot-side lavatory in coach is notable because it's one of the few airplane lavatories with a window. Since I was in first class, I didn't get to appreciate that novelty.

Here's a photo of that rear-lavatory window from a colleague's flight a few months ago.

After what felt like just a few minutes (actually, it really was just a few minutes — the BOS-LGA flight is so short), we began our descent ...

... and touched down at LaGuardia.

It was the end of my first A220 flight, and I must say: I'm a fan.

Sadly, it wasn't the end of my journey. Thanks to LaGuardia's construction, it would take me a while to get home.

With the walk to the taxi shuttle bus, the bus ride itself, and the time it took the taxi to get out of the airport, the 9 1/2-mile trip from Queens to Brooklyn was longer and less comfortable than the flight from Boston to New York.

Outside-airport traffic aside, the flight was a fantastic experience. The plane was incredibly comfortable compared with just about every other jet serving the 100-seat market, including the Bombardier CRJs and the Embraer RJs of yesteryear.

While the A220 is meant as an eventual replacement for the larger of these, its range and efficiency give it a niche that's more in between the regional jets and the mainline narrow-bodies, seating just 100 or so passengers but capable of flying coast to coast.

That potential is evident in the fact that Delta just scheduled the A220 for a daily flight between Atlanta and Seattle. While a flight that long on a regional jet would be unpleasant, to say the least, the A220 should be a perfectly comfortable ride.



US regulators are talking to founders of companies Facebook acquired as part of the government's new antitrust probe (FB)

Thu, 08/01/2019 - 3:09pm

  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is digging into Facebook's history of acquiring other companies.
  • The US regulator is talking to founders of startups that were bought by Facebook, according to The Wall Street Journal.
  • The FTC is currently investigating Facebook over antitrust issues.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

US regulators investigating Facebook for potential antitrust violations are taking a close look at the company's history of acquisitions.

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal published Thursday, investigators at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have been trying to contact the founders of companies that Facebook has bought up over the years.

The approaches are a sign that the FTC's investigation into whether Facebook has engaged in antitrust competitive behavior is going to explore how the Silicon Valley social networking giant approached acquiring other companies — an area antitrust advocates have long called for scrutiny of Facebook over.

The WSJ reported, citing unspecified people familiar with the matter, that the FTC is "examining the social media giant's acquisitions to determine if they were part of a campaign to snap up potential rivals before they could become a threat."

It's not immediately clear which founders of which companies have been approached by the FTC — but Facebook has a long history of purchasing startups working in similar fields to it. Two of its key products, WhatsApp and Instagram, began life as independent startups before being acquired.

Spokespeople for the Facebook and the FTC did not immediately respond to Business Insider's requests for comment.

Critics of the company, including Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren and cofounder Chris Hughes, have argued that Facebook should be forced to undo some of its past acquisitions.

In June 2019, the FTC opened its antitrust investigation into Facebook, and the company disclosed its existence publicly for the first time during its Q2 earnings in late July. In a corporate filing, the company said: In June 2019 we were informed by the FTC that it had opened an antitrust investigation of our company in the areas of social networking or social media services, digital advertising, and/or mobile or online applications."

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Stocks plunge after Trump takes his trade war with China to a new level

Thu, 08/01/2019 - 2:50pm

Major US indexes erased big gains on Thursday after President Donald Trump announced a new round of tariffs of China just days after trade negotiations restarted.

The benchmark S&P 500 was up as much as 1.1% before Trump's tweet caused a sharp sell-off, pushing the index down more than 1% at intraday lows.

"Trade talks are continuing, and ... during the talks the U.S. will start, on September 1st, putting a small additional Tariff of 10% on the remaining 300 Billion Dollars of goods and products coming from China into our Country," Trump said in two tweets.

Here's a look at the major indexes as of the close:

  • The S&P 500 fell as much as 0.90%, to 2,953.56 — it was up more than 1% earlier.
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 1.05%, to 26,583.42 — it was up more than 1% earlier.
  • The Nasdaq Composite fell by 0.79% to 8,112.12 — it was up more than 1.6% earlier.

Trump also accused China of failing to maintain a commitment to purchasing more agricultural products from the US. He said on Tuesday that unless significant progress was made during the talks, there may be "no deal at all." Delegations from the two countries meet in Shanghai for trade discussions this week.

Before Trump's remarks, all major stock indexes had rallied more than 1% on a series of strong earnings releases and as investors continued to digest interest-rate guidance from the Federal Reserve. Equities finished in the red on Wednesday amid speculation that the central bank's first rate cut in more than 10 years won't kickstart a prolonged easing cycle.

Within the S&P 500, these were the largest gainers:

And the largest decliners:

Yum Brands, the parent company of Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, rose by 4.15% after reporting better-than-expected earnings. The fast-casual-restaurant company posted $1.31 billion in revenue during the second quarter, higher than the $1.27 billion expected by analysts. Strong sales growth at Taco Bell and KFC drove the company's performance.

The US dollar index, which tracks the value of the US dollar, hit a two-year high following the Fed's rate cut. Trump has called for a weaker dollar to help boost US exports, while accusing China and Europe of currency manipulation.

Industrials and financials all dropped more than 2% within the S&P 500 index. Utilities and real estate posted gains of 1.01% and 0.29%.

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Listen to our series on how AI is changing everything

Thu, 08/01/2019 - 2:45pm

The term artificial intelligence (AI) was coined in 1956 by a professor at Dartmouth College who convened the first ever academic summit on the topic. Now it's one of several acronyms denoting innovation - including VR, AR, ML - that are tossed around by marketing organizations and tech startups.

What is clearly understood is this: the impact and promise of AI is profound, but it's not all happening at once, and we're only at the beginning of its potential. AI is already finding its way into daily life (think Netflix recommendations). But progress is uneven across verticals, and it can be difficult to sort out the hype from the reality.

With an orientation always to provide clarity on complex topics, Business Insider's newsroom has taken a deep dive into how AI is playing out across key industry verticals.

And we're making these stories available to listen to. Below, you can either click to read the story, or press play where you see the option to "Listen to this article."

Here's a breakdown of how AI is impacting various verticals:

Advertising

Consumers are tuning out ads more than ever. Big brands are betting AI can help them break through with better targeting and personalization.

Consumer tech

AI is already in your home. Soon it could tell you how much sleep to get or help you communicate better with the world.

Enterprise tech

'Data is the epicenter of the AI revolution': How AI is disrupting the data center and enterprise IT markets.

Finance

AI has the potential to radically transform financial services. But first banks need to get their data in order.

Healthcare

The $1.2 trillion pharma industry has ambitions for AI technology, but "people are ignoring" a lot of its uses.

 

Investing

Automated trading has already upended markets. Now AI could shake up stock picking and investment advice.

Media

Netflix and its rivals are using AI and lessons from Bandersnatch to make shows even more binge-worthy.

Retail

Walmart's artificial intelligence-powered "store of the future" might sound like hype, but AI has big potential for retailers big and small.

Transportation

AI is already reshaping how we get around, but progress will stall if vital infrastructure problems are not addressed.

Workplace

AI is going to change your career. IBM is showing how that can be a good thing.

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Twitter acquired a startup for $22.8 million last quarter, and it's probably this London AI company (TWTR)

Wed, 07/31/2019 - 6:43pm

  • Twitter spent $22.8 million to acquire an unnamed startup in the second quarter of 2019.
  • The startup appears to be Fabula AI, a machine learning business from London that Twitter had previously announced it had bought for an undisclosed sum.
  • The $22.8 million figure was disclosed in a corporate filing, and a Twitter spokesperson declined to share more info about what it was for.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Twitter acquired a startup for $22.8 million at some point between April and June of 2019.

In a corporate filing made public on Wednesday, the San Francisco-based social networking firm disclosed that it had spent more than $20 million to acquire a company in the second quarter of the year.

Twitter did not disclose the name of the company in the filing, and a Twitter spokesperson declined to share more information with Business Insider about it.

It appears to be Fabula AI, a London-based machine learning (ML) startup that builds tech to fight fake news, that Twitter announced it had acquired for an undisclosed sum in June 2019.

In a blog post at the time, Twitter said that it acquired Fabula AI to help build out its AI/ML research group, and that "this strategic investment in graph deep learning research, technology and talent will be a key driver as we work to help people feel safe on Twitter and help them see relevant information."

An alternative possibility is Highly, a document-highlighting service that announced it had been bought by Twitter in an acqui-hire on April 17.

Another option is that Twitter acquired a third, as-yet-undisclosed startup during the second quarter of 2019.

"During the three months ended June 30, 2019, the Company made an acquisition, which was accounted for as a business combination," Twitter said in its 10-Q SEC filing on Wednesday.

"The purchase price of $22.8 million (paid in cash of $20.5 million and indemnification holdback of $2.3 million) for this acquisition was allocated as follows: $4.9 million to developed technology, $1.2 million to net liabilities assumed based on their estimated fair value on the acquisition date, and the excess $19.1 million of the purchase price over the fair value of net assets acquired to goodwill. The goodwill from the acquisition is mainly attributable to assembled workforce, expected synergies and other benefits. The goodwill is not tax deductible. The developed technology will be amortized on a straight-line basis over its estimated useful life of 36 months."

Last week, Twitter announced its second-quarter financial results. It beat analysts expectations for revenue, bringing in $841 million, with a 21% year-on-year increase in ad sales. It made $37 million in profit, and its users grew at its fastest year-on-year rate since the summer of 2017 — a combination of factors that sent its stock jumping 7% in subsequent trading.

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NOW WATCH: Here's why phone companies like Verizon and AT&T charge more for extra data

Trump blasts Fed Chairman Powell even after getting the interest rate cut the president has been demanding for months

Wed, 07/31/2019 - 6:03pm

  • The Federal Reserve cut interest rates by 0.25% on Wednesday, the first rate cut in 10 years.
  • President Donald Trump has been calling on the Fed and Chairman Jerome Powell to cut rates for months.
  • But the cut did not do enough to satisfy the president.
  • "As usual, Powell let us down, but at least he is ending quantitative tightening, which shouldn't have started in the first place — no inflation," Trump said.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

After months of demanding that Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell cut interest rates in order to boost the economy, President Donald Trump on Wednesday finally got his wish as the central bank went through with a 0.25% interest rate cut.

But based on the president's response, the first rate cut in 10 years still wasn't enough for him.

"What the Market wanted to hear from Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve was that this was the beginning of a lengthy and aggressive rate-cutting cycle which would keep pace with China, The European Union and other countries around the world," Trump tweeted a few hours after the Fed decision was announced.

"As usual, Powell let us down, but at least he is ending quantitative tightening, which shouldn't have started in the first place — no inflation. We are winning anyway, but I am certainly not getting much help from the Federal Reserve!"

Read more: The Federal Reserve just slashed interest rates for the first time since the financial crisis

The Fed made the much-anticipated decision to cut rates on Wednesday, citing weakening global economic conditions. Powell previously pointed to the uncertainty surrounding trade — particularly Trump's trade war with China — as a reason for the need to loosen policy. The Fed also announced it would stop its sale of bonds that were accumulated during the financial crisis — what Trump referred to as "quantitative tightening" — earlier than anticipated.

In general, lowering interest rates stimulates the economy by making it cheaper for business and individuals to borrow money. Borrowers then turn around and, theoretically, spend that money in the economy and help boost growth.

But despite the stimulative move, stocks sold off sharply during Powell's press conference as the chairman seemed to suggest that the move may be a one-off "mid-cycle adjustment," rather than a sustained cutting cycle. Though Powell later clarified that more cuts could be on the way if needed.

Clearly the more moderate approach to the rate cut by Powell during the press conference did not appease Trump's desire for more stimulus. A senior White House official told CNBC's Eamon Javers that Trump viewed the Fed's move as "not enough."

Trump has campaigned for months against the Fed's interest rate hike cycle, which began at the end of 2015. The Fed then hiked rates another eight times from 2016 through 2018.

But given Powell's tempered tone about the possibility of future rate cuts, the President didn't not appear satisfied.

Central bank observers have raised concerns about the president's Fed bashing, warning that political influence on the Fed could be detrimental to the US economy. Trump's attacks have also been criticized as an attempt to deflect blame for any economic problems that could hit the US economy in the run up to the 2020 election.

SEE ALSO: 

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Read the full email Uber CEO wrote to employees about why the company was laying off 400 workers (UBER)

Wed, 07/31/2019 - 5:19pm

Uber on Monday fired 400 marketing employees from its marketing, shrinking the department to about two-third its previous size. 

In an email to all staff, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the move was not to de-emphasize marketing at the ride-hailing's marketing efforts, but rather to streamline them after ten years of growth. 

Read more: Uber employees describe the abrupt way the company laid off 400 workers in more than a dozen countries this week

The layoffs began with an 8 a.m. email from newly installed head of communications, Jill Hazelbaker, on Monday, followed by individual meetings with human resources representatives for each affected employee. 

Here's the full email Khosrowshahi sent to employees on Monday: 

Team Uber:

This morning, Jill announced important changes we're making to the Marketing organization, which you can see below. Since I asked her to take on Marketing last month, Jill has worked around the clock to ensure we have the right structure in place to build a consistent brand narrative across audiences, products and regions.

I also want to be clear that we are not making these changes because Marketing has become less important to Uber. The exact opposite is true: we are making these changes because presenting a powerful, unified, and dynamic vision to the world has never been more important. Under Jill's leadership, Marketing will soon be operating at full strength.

These changes are incredibly difficult to make because they have a huge impact on people's lives. But a big part of our job as leaders is to make tough calls based on what is best for Uber and our long-term future, and to be honest with you about why we're making them.

It's also critical that we look at the big picture, admit when we aren't where we need to be as a company, and, most importantly, get back on track. Today, there's a general sense that while we've grown fast, we've slowed down. You can see it in Pulse Survey feedback and All Hands questions, and you can feel it in much of our day-to-day work. This happens naturally as companies get bigger, but it is something we need to address, and quickly.

Much of Jill's note captures the symptoms of a broader problem: many of our teams are too big, which creates overlapping work, makes for unclear decision owners, and can lead to mediocre results. As a company, we can do more to keep the bar high, and expect more of ourselves and each other.

So, put simply, we need to get our edge back. Being fast wins; coupling that with strong alignment and exceptional talent makes magic—and we need magic to deliver on our world-changing mission.

This topic has been a consistent one for the ELT over the last few months. We are all committed to ensuring we build the best organization that can execute with the highest standards to win in this enormous and enormously competitive market.

Good simply isn't good enough—we are going for great. But greatness doesn't come easy. This is one tough and totally necessary step that we have taken. I'm here to win a race that really, really matters. And I'm psyched to be in it with you.

I'll share more tomorrow at the All Hands—see you there.

Dara

SEE ALSO: Uber employees describe the abrupt way the company laid off 400 workers in more than a dozen countries this week

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The massive Capital One data breach may have affected Ford, Vodafone, and other companies

Wed, 07/31/2019 - 5:10pm

On Monday, Capital One revealed that a major data breach affecting 106 million US and Canadian customers occurred earlier this year. The data lost includes names, addresses, birthdates, Social Security and bank account numbers, and more. 

As it turns out, Capital One could be the first of several companies affected by the same breach.

Companies such as Ford and Vodafone, as well as Michigan State University and the Ohio Department of Transportation, may have also been impacted by the same data breach, reports TechCrunch citing Israeli cybersecurity firm CyberInt. Reports from Forbes and security researcher Brian Krebs also suggested that the hack may have affected others besides Capital One.

Ford said in a comment to Business Insider that it's investigating the situation to determine whether Ford's information was involved. The Ohio Department of Transportation is currently working with the FBI, but could not confirm if any data was accessed, a spokesperson said via email. 

"We take security very seriously," a Vodafone representative told Business Insider. "Vodafone is not aware of any information that relates to the Capital One security breach."

Michigan State University is "aware that our university was listed on a chat site by the hacker accused of breaching Capital One" and is "cooperating with all law enforcement who are investigating the crime," an MSU spokesperson said. "To our knowledge, we have not been compromised," said the spokesperson, who added that the university is continuing to monitor the situation. 

Read more: A 33-year-old woman who used to work for Amazon is the suspect in the massive Capital One hack — meet Paige Thompson

On Monday, it was revealed that Capital One was hit with a data breach impacting 100 million customers and applicants in the United States and six million in Canada. No credit card numbers or login credentials were compromised, but names, addresses, dates of birth, phone numbers, 140,000 Social Security numbers, and 80,000 bank account numbers were compromised.

Paige Thompson, a 33-year-old software engineer and former Amazon employee, was charged with one count of computer fraud and abuse in connection to the data breach. Thompson was arrested on Monday in an FBI raid on her Seattle home

Krebs, who joined the Slack channel in which Thompson posted about the data she is believed to have stolen, published a screenshot reportedly showing the databases she accessed by hacking into Amazon's cloud service. Ford is one of several companies named in that list. The referenced file only contained publicly available data from the Ohio Department of Transportation, and no personal information was stored there, the spokesperson also said.

A user that is believed to have been Thompson mentioned the data breach in a post on the code-sharing website GitHub, which prompted a tipster to contact Capital One. The company has yet to alert customers who are impacted in the data breach.

SEE ALSO: Capital One says it was hit with data breach, affecting tens of millions of credit card applications

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Wealthy parents in Singapore are buying penthouses for their kids as taxes rise, and it mirrors a change in luxury real estate happening on the other side of the world

Wed, 07/31/2019 - 5:04pm

Singapore is one of the most expensive cities in the world.

Unsurprisingly, wealthy buyers dominate its housing market: In July, for example, British billionaire James Dyson bought the country's most expensive penthouse for $54.2 million.

But now, a new trend is emerging: Parents in Singapore are buying expensive homes and putting them in their children's names, and it might be an effort to avoid an uptick in second- and third-home taxes, Bloomberg reports. 

Read more: Singapore is now the most expensive — and most competitive — city on earth

Tax changes in Singapore

Singapore first put an additional buyer's stamp duty (ABSD) — a tax on homes that are not used as permanent residences — into place in 2011. At the time, buyers were grouped into three categories with varying rates: Singapore citizens, Singapore permanent residents, and foreigners or non-individuals.

According to Bloomberg, many Singaporeans accumulate wealth through property investments. For these buyers, the original ABSD on second homes stood at 7% and 10% for all additional home purchases.

In July of 2018, in an attempt to cool its market, Singapore increased the ABSD and added two buyer categories to the existing three: entities and developers.

For Singapore citizens, the ABSD jumped to 12% for second homes and 15% for all additional home purchases.  

Since the revised ABSD was first put into place a year ago, industry professionals told Bloomberg there has been an increase in properties being bought for wealthy children, and it's likely an effort to avoid paying the tax. 

In order to claim ownership of a property in Singapore, you have to be 21 or older. But that doesn't mean parents with underage children are out of luck. Bloomberg reports that another potential way for parents to avoid the ABSD is to open trust accounts in their children's names. That way, even though the trust is in the child's name, the parent is able to hold the property for them, according to Bloomberg. While opening a trust is expensive, and there is no concrete data to prove it's being done to avoid the ABSD, industry professionals told Bloomberg there has been a rise in trust-fund inquiries. 

But Singapore isn't the only place where kids are living in luxury homes thanks to tax changes. In 2017, in an attempt to increase Vancouver's rental housing supply, Canada implemented an annual 1% Empty Homes Tax based off a property's assessed taxable value from the previous tax year. As a result, owners began renting their mansions to college kids for shockingly low amounts.

In April, Bloomberg's Natalie Wong and Natalie Obiko Pearson reported that a Vancouver mansion worth around $3 million was being rented out for $3,378 a month. Another Vancouver mansion with nine bedrooms, a steam room, and a billiards room is being rented by fourteen students who each pay $825 a month.

Read the full report at Bloomberg »

SEE ALSO: Wealthy Manhattan residents dished out $11 million to keep a new building from blocking their views of the Empire State Building

DON'T MISS: Step inside the tallest building in Singapore, where the country's most expensive penthouse just sold for $54.2 million and a 39th-floor infinity pool looks out over the city

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A Lyft driver was killed on his 52nd wedding anniversary (LYFT)

Wed, 07/31/2019 - 4:56pm

  • A Lyft driver was killed in Phoenix on Sunday, his 52nd anniversary.
  • The company said he was not giving a ride at the time, nor was he on his way to pick up a passenger. 
  • Police are looking for community input to help find who is responsible.  
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A Lyft driver was killed in Phoenix, Arizona, on Sunday, his 52nd anniversary.

71-year-old Harold Treadwell was shot near 32nd and Thunderbird streets early Sunday morning, around 12:30 a.m., according to a GoFundMe set up on his family's behalf.

A Lyft spokesperson confirmed the incident, and noted that Treadwell was not driving a passenger at the time and was not on his way to pick up any passengers either.

"We are deeply saddened and shocked by this loss," the company said in a statement. "Our sympathies go out to the loved ones of Harold Treadwell and all those impacted by this tragedy. We are actively assisting law enforcement and will continue helping in any way we can."

Read more: There are 2 areas where Uber's competitors could leave the ride-hailing giant in the dust

As of Wednesday afternoon, the GoFundMe had racked up nearly $5,000 in donations.

"Today is our 52nd Wedding Anniversary and we spoke right before he was killed and wished each other a HAPPY ANNIVERSARY (thank you God for allowing me to have that last conversation with him so I could tell him that I loved him!)," Treadwell's wife said on Facebook, according to the fundraiser page.

"I pray that he did NOT suffer with any pain. I know that he is with God and his parents now in heaven. He was such a good, kind, giving and loving man!!!"

In a statement to ABC News, Phoenix police said there were not yet any suspects in the shooting as of Tuesday.

"Right now, we're not having any indication that he was maybe a target," a police spokesperson said. "We're really heavily depending on the community's assistance. ... This is one of those crimes, it just touches everybody. You know, ride-sharing, we all use it so it's a very sensitive topic."

SEE ALSO: A top Lyft exec has left after less than 18 months on the job

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A top exec at health IT giant Cerner explains why it decided to pick Amazon Web Services, in a deal that could give the cloud giant a big leg up in the race to win over hospitals

Wed, 07/31/2019 - 4:52pm

  • Health information technology giant Cerner said it's made Amazon Web Services its preferred cloud provider as it moves its business from being hosted on its own data centers to the cloud.
  • Microsoft and Alphabet are competing with Amazon for the billions of dollars that healthcare companies are projected to spend on cloud services. 
  • Kansas City, Missouri-based Cerner will also be working with Amazon and AWS in a partnership on projects related to health IT, using Amazon's machine learning tools. 
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

Health information-technology giant Cerner is making Amazon Web Services its preferred cloud provider, a huge victory for Amazon as it competes with Google Cloud and Microsoft to sign on healthcare providers.

Cerner provides software that's critical to the operations of hospitals and is used for managing patients, billing and other services. It also plans to work with AWS on projects related to health IT using Amazon's machine learning tools, the companies said in a release Tuesday.

Cerner is one of a handful of companies that dominate the market for the electronic health records software used by major hospital systems. According to a May report cited by Healthcare Dive, Cerner controls about 27% of the hospital EHR market. 

When it came to picking a cloud partner, Cerner Chief Operating Officer Mike Nill said that the capabilities of top cloud providers like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft are getting closer to one another, making it less of a differentiation when looking for a cloud partner.

"For us, the larger influencer was the innovation angle that we saw with AWS and Amazon," Nill told Business Insider.

In particular, Nill cited the ability to collaborate with Amazon in addition to AWS — using the company's consumer and supply chain expertise — to build tools together that the two organizations could then sell to other healthcare companies. He also said AWS was willing to move Cerner onto the cloud faster.

From paper to digital to the cloud

Cerner has been moving more of its services to data centers that it operates and then to the cloud. Right now, about 80% of Cerner's clients host their information out of Cerner data centers. As Cerner transitions to the cloud, that information will come along for the ride. Working with AWS, Nill said, will help make that migration go faster.

Moving to the cloud is a big change for the healthcare industry, which only recently transition from paper to digital and is notorious for its reliance on fax machines. The next phase of that, Nill said, will be to get it on the cloud, where it's easier to use machine learning and artificial intelligence to analyze that data and ideally build new tools that make doctors' jobs easier and keep patients healthier.

Read more: 'That complexity has a tendency to eat you alive': Technology companies face a massive challenge as they move into healthcare

A brewing cloud wars

Cloud companies are in a fierce competition for the healthcare market. According to Business Insider Intelligence, healthcare companies are projected to spend $11.4 billion on cloud computing in 2019. Amazon as of 2017 had about 46% of the cloud infrastructure market, while Microsoft had about 11%.

This isn't the first time Amazon has leveraged its own AI component in partnerships with healthcare companies. In 2018, Amazon announced it would be offering a new service called Amazon Comprehend Medical to hospitals, insurers, and pharmaceutical companies with the hope of helping them analyze their health-record data.

The service will comb through unstructured medical texts from records and pull out information like diagnoses, symptoms, and treatments. Organizations like the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle have been working with Amazon's Comprehend Medical.

Read more: Amazon is dipping its toes into a $300 billion healthcare-technology market, and it has analysts wondering if the retail giant has a shot at disrupting it

While Amazon may be winning on market share, companies like Microsoft have been inking big deals as well. As part of a January deal, Microsoft became Walgreens' cloud partner. Prior to that, Microsoft struck up alliances with Walmart and Kroger, both of which operate pharmacies.

It's also inked deals with a major health system, bringing on Providence St. Joseph Health, a West-Coast-based health system that operates 51 hospitals and made $24 billion in 2018. 

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NOW WATCH: An animated map shows every total solar eclipse around the world until 2040

Uber marketing employees describe this week's 'bloodbath' when the company laid off 400 employees in more than a dozen countries this week (UBER)

Wed, 07/31/2019 - 4:45pm

  • Uber fired 400 marketing employees this week as the company seeks to trim the fat from bloated departments. 
  • Affected employees were told of the changes in an email early Monday from Jill Hazelbaker, the company's head of communications. That was followed by an online meeting for those in satellite offices, workers told Business Insider. 
  • For workers in offices around the world, many of whom were not at work when the email went out, the process felt impersonal, they said. 
  • Morale had been low on the marketing team for months, other former employees say, leaving few surprised by the shakeup. 
  • Read the full email CEO Dara Khosrowshahi sent to Uber employees this week below. 
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

On Monday morning, around 8 am California time, hundreds of Uber employees around the world received an ominous email from Jill Hazelbaker, the ride-hailing company's head of marketing, communications, and public policy.

The company is restructuring its marketing efforts, the senior vice president said, according to now-former employees who received the email. Her message continued to say that affected workers would be receiving an invitation to a Zoom video conference, and should contact their local human resources executive for more information.

All told, 400 workers were fired, equating to about one-third of the company's entire marketing team.

At Uber's San Francisco headquarters on Market Street, affected employees were invited to a small conference room where Hazelbaker spoke only for about 30 seconds, one of the roughly twenty attendees said. A human resources employees spoke next, and the meeting ended just a few minutes later. 

"She didn't say thank you, she just kind of left," the attendee, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation by Uber, said of Hazelbaker's remarks. "A lot of people felt like it was a bloodbath. You didn't get a personalized message from your manager or HR partner or anybody."

Many of the laid-off employees were not even at the office yet when the email announcement and subsequent meeting occurred, another former employee said. Others tried to access the livestream link only to find it had already ended.

Affected workers weren't lead out by human resources or operations staff, as in some mass layoffs at large companies. Instead, laid-off employees were told they had until the end of the day. 

While the layoffs were not limited to one area of the firm's massive marketing team, brand marketing was hit the hardest, a third former employee said. Outside of Silicon Valley, the hammer hit offices in New York City, as well as in Latin America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

For some employees in international offices, the process felt robotic and out-of-touch. 

"It's never easy to fire people, but I do believe things could have been handled in a more human way," said one former marketing employee in a Latin American office, who asked not to be identified. In that particular location, only about four employees remain of the previously 12-person marketing team, the source said.

To be sure, all fired employees had individual meetings with human resources representatives, the sources said. 

Read more: Uber lost 2 board members, including Arianna Huffington, an ally of ousted founder Travis Kalanick 

In an email to all Uber employees on Monday, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the moves were an effort to trim teams that had become too big.

"I also want to be clear that we are not making these changes because Marketing has become less important to Uber," he said. "The exact opposite is true: we are making these changes because presenting a powerful, unified, and dynamic vision to the world has never been more important. Under Jill's leadership, Marketing will soon be operating at full strength.

"Many of our teams are too big, which creates overlapping work, makes for unclear decision owners and can lead to mediocre results," he continued. "As a company, we can do more to keep the bar high, and expect more of ourselves and each other. So, put simply, we need to get our edge back."

Going forward, the marketing team will report to two senior leaders, a company spokesperson said. One will handle performance marketing, CRM, and analytics, while the other yet-to-be-named manager will handle product marketing, brand, Eats, and more. 

Last week, Uber also parted ways with two board members: early investor Matt Cohler and Ariana Huffington, an ally of ousted founder Travis Kalanick.

Those departures, as well as the droves of layoffs this week, could help Uber shore up its balance sheet and slow its massive losses, revealed during its IPO earlier this year. Investors will get their next insight into the company's financial situation on August 8, when the company reports its second-quarter earnings. 

"Because there have been so many changes recently, morale on the marketing team was very low," the former San Francisco-based employee said. "A lot of people were just like 'here it is, Uber is screwing us over again.'"

"People were surprised at how big the layoff was, but not to be treated this way by their company," they said. 

Are you a current or former Uber employee? Have a news tip? Get in touch with this reporter at grapier@businessinsider.com. Secure contact methods are available here (do not use a work phone). 

Here's Khosrowshahi's full email, sent Monday: 

Team Uber: 

This morning, Jill announced important changes we're making to the Marketing organization, which you can see below. Since I asked her to take on Marketing last month, Jill has worked around the clock to ensure we have the right structure in place to build a consistent brand narrative across audiences, products and regions.

I also want to be clear that we are not making these changes because Marketing has become less important to Uber. The exact opposite is true: we are making these changes because presenting a powerful, unified, and dynamic vision to the world has never been more important. Under Jill's leadership, Marketing will soon be operating at full strength.

These changes are incredibly difficult to make because they have a huge impact on people's lives. But a big part of our job as leaders is to make tough calls based on what is best for Uber and our long-term future, and to be honest with you about why we're making them. 

It's also critical that we look at the big picture, admit when we aren't where we need to be as a company, and, most importantly, get back on track. Today, there's a general sense that while we've grown fast, we've slowed down. You can see it in Pulse Survey feedback and All Hands questions, and you can feel it in much of our day-to-day work. This happens naturally as companies get bigger, but it is something we need to address, and quickly.

Much of Jill's note captures the symptoms of a broader problem: many of our teams are too big, which creates overlapping work, makes for unclear decision owners, and can lead to mediocre results. As a company, we can do more to keep the bar high, and expect more of ourselves and each other.

So, put simply, we need to get our edge back. Being fast wins; coupling that with strong alignment and exceptional talent makes magic—and we need magic to deliver on our world-changing mission.  

This topic has been a consistent one for the ELT over the last few months. We are all committed to ensuring we build the best organization that can execute with the highest standards to win in this enormous and enormously competitive market.

Good simply isn't good enough—we are going for great. But greatness doesn't come easy. This is one tough and totally necessary step that we have taken. I'm here to win a race that really, really matters. And I'm psyched to be in it with you.

I'll share more tomorrow at the All Hands—see you there.

Dara

SEE ALSO: There are 2 areas where Uber's competitors could leave the ride-hailing giant in the dust

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Facebook has admitted to investors that Libra may never launch (FB)

Wed, 07/31/2019 - 4:32pm
  • This is an excerpt from a story delivered exclusively to Business Insider Intelligence Fintech Briefing subscribers.
  • To receive the full story plus other insights each morning, click here.

In its latest quarterly reports, Facebook said that, although it still intends to launch its ambitious crypto-based payments system by 2020, a number of factors could scupper that timeline or even bar its launch entirely, per CNBC.

Since announcing plans to launch Libra last month, the social media giant has faced a barrage of criticism, not least from regulators and lawmakers in the US but also across the world, including from British, Chinese, and French central banks. In its filing with the US' Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said it was cognizant of the substantial pushback the project has received and says it expects that scrutiny to continue.

Here's what it means: We previously noted that Facebook's turbulent history would inevitably delay Libra — and the company appears to agree.

  • Facebook says significant regulatory scrutiny has made the project's fate uncertain. The tech giant admits the significant uncertainty around Libra means there can be no genuine assurance that the project "will be made available in a timely manner, or at all," per CNBC. Facing questions from the US Senate Banking Committee, David Marcus, who heads up Libra and Calibra, the Facebook subsidiary tasked with developing a digital wallet for the crypto, claimed that the company would not move forward without the receiving the appropriate regulatory approvals. Then, I (Mekebeb) noted that the company's recent scandalous history, which has resulted in a string of regulatory actions against it, would delay the launch of Libra — with such an outcome representing a best-case scenario. And Facebook's latest comments appear to agree with this.
  • Yet, regulatory concerns aren't the only issues that the company cites over the viability of the project. It acknowledges that achieving widespread adoption of Libra among consumers is another potentially challenging issue. In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where 87 million users' data had been illegally obtained, consumer trust in Facebook plunged66%. And given a steady stream of privacy issues have occurred since, it wouldn't be a stretch to imagine the company will have a hard time convincing people to give it even more personal information.
  • The company has also cited its lack of experience with crypto and blockchain as another hurdle to Libra's success. This lack of significant prior experience in the space could impact its ability to successfully develop and market the crypto and services related to it. Such an acknowledgment is somewhat confusing given that the Libra Association, the consortium of 28 companies tasked with developing and governing the crypto, includes four companies that operate within the space, including Coinbase. More importantly, given Facebook is the fifth-most valuablecompany in the world, by market cap, naturally it would appear such challenges, as difficult as they may be, are not insurmountable.

The bigger picture: Libra is facing unprecedented regulatory scrutiny — and I suspect it'll have major implications for big tech firms' push into financial services.

Libra's fate is likely to tell us a lot about how regulators will react to big tech firms' outsized ambitions to transform financial services. Despite Facebook's assertions that Libra might get delayed or not even launch, given how nascent the project is, it's likely to take a while before Libra's fate is decided.

Interestingly, though, the US Department of Justice launched its antitrust probe into big tech firms like Facebook last week. Such an investigation, I think, could scupper any likelihood of Libra launching, at least in the sense Facebook anticipates. And it could have major implications for big tech firms' efforts to push into financial services.

Even prior to Libra, these players' foray into financial services has been well documented. However, their existing monopoly on consumer data is only likely to be strengthened by gaining access to consumers' financial lives. The outcome could have substantial repercussions for financial stability, not least by compelling incumbent FIs to take greater risks to keep up. Given these threats, the kind of regulatory action imposed on Libra could tell us a lot about how lawmakers will police big tech players' financial service efforts.

Here's an industry opinion, as told to Business Insider Intelligence:

"What this latest announcement from Facebook suggests, is that governments, banks, and regulators really haven't been spooked by the existing cryptocurrency industry yet. But that the power of a corporation, with a not too clean record on data use, fake news, or ethics, may well significantly destabilize the status quo. I still expect Libra to exist in one form or another in the next 12 months, although based on its reception so far, some restructuring will likely take place and it could take longer to come to market. This increased scrutiny could also be good for the industry as a whole as it forces cryptocurrencies to become more regulated." — Richard Dennis, CEO and founder at temtum

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The Capital One Venture card comes with valuable travel benefits — our card review breaks down why it's worth the $95 annual fee

Wed, 07/31/2019 - 4:30pm

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a competitive travel rewards credit card at a moderate price point. While it does carry a $95 annual fee (waived the first year), it offers plenty of value and useful benefits, and it might be a great fit for your purchase and travel needs.

Today we'll review the rewards, benefits, and costs of the Capital One Venture card to help you decide if it makes sense for your wallet.

Sign-up bonus

New cardholders can earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months after opening a new account. 

That's worth at least $500 toward travel, because you can redeem miles for 1 cent apiece to cover travel purchases. That's not your only option for using the Venture card's miles, though — you can also transfer them to airline partners including Air Canada, Emirates, and JetBlue.

Annual fee and other rates

The main cost of this card is the $95 annual fee, waived the first year. If you don't pay the card off in full every month (which you should), it charges variable rate interest, currently 17.99% to 25.24% APR (as of July, 2019) based on your credit. Rates can change at any time.

Cash-advance transactions charge the top 25.24% APR rate. Balance transfers cost 3% when posted at a promotional APR. Balance transfers charge no fee if they post with the standard APR. Cash-advance transactions charge 3%, with a $10 minimum.

Late payments cost up to $39 per occurrence. Avoid that by paying your bill on time.

Points earning on the Venture Rewards card

The Capital One Venture card offers 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases, with a bonus rate of 10 miles per dollar at Hotels.com. To earn 10x miles at Hotels.com, you need to book hotels at the hotels.com/venture link.

Earning 10x miles on paid hotel stays booked through Hotels.com is already pretty great, but this is even better when you factor in the rewards you can "stack" from the Hotels.com Rewards program. This loyalty program offers you one free night for every 10 paid Hotels.com nights you book.

Using Capital One miles

Redeeming miles from the Venture Rewards card is easy. Much easier than some competing cards, in fact. Once you make a purchase from any major travel company, you can redeem points to wipe out the charge through a statement credit, which Capital One calls the "Purchase Eraser."

You can book new travel through any airline, hotel, train, cruise, or travel agency and reimburse yourself with miles when the transaction posts. Alternatively, you can book new travel through the Capital One portal, which works a lot like most big travel-booking sites online.

You can also transfer miles to 15 airline frequent flyer partners. This potentially gets you a higher value for miles — you can read more about that here

You can also use miles for gift cards at the same 1-cent-per-mile rate, but don't use your miles for cash-back redemptions. When you do, you only get half a cent per mile in value.

Capital One Venture Rewards Card benefits

The Venture card comes with some great benefits, some of which are usually reserved for more premium travel rewards cards like the Platinum Card® from American Express. These can help you squeeze even more value out of the Venture card beyond what you get in rewards.

Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit 

The card comes with a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. Global Entry is the better program and includes PreCheck, so that benefit is worth $100 up to every four years. Because Global Entry lasts five years, that is a $20 per year value. If you already have a membership, you can use this benefit to pay for someone else's application fee, and you'll still be reimbursed.

Exclusive events

Capital One also offers cardholders access to some exclusive events, VIP packages, and presales for concerts, music festivals, sporting events, and other ticketed events.

Other perks

When you jet off across the world, or over any border, the card charges no foreign transaction fees. Those are often around 3% for lower-tier cards that don't include this benefit.

When you hit the road, this card covers you with some great travel insurance benefits. It includes rental car insurance, travel accident insurance, and a 24-hour emergency assistance number.

The card does not offer purchase protection, but it does come with an automatic extended warranty for eligible purchases.

The benefits are not the very best you can find in the travel rewards card space, but at the $95 annual fee price point they are pretty good and cover the most common needs for frequent travelers.

Bottom line: Should you get the Capital One Venture card?

The Capital One Venture is a very good travel rewards card that offers plenty of value and opportunities to earn miles toward free travel with easy redemption options.

There are some cards that might give you a little more value, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card — which also has a $95 annual fee — or the ultra-high-end Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Platinum Card from American Express. But to get maximum value out of those cards, you need to transfer your points to partners, which is a bit more involved.

If the $95 annual fee scares you off, the lower-tier Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card has no annual fee, but offers inferior benefits as well.

Overall, if you're attracted to the big bonus, simple system to earn and redeem miles, and the valuable benefits, the Capital One Venture is a great card. 

Click here to learn more about the Capital One Venture Rewards from our partner The Points Guy.

SEE ALSO: The best credit card rewards, bonuses, and benefits of 2019

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